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METAL 3D PRINTING - LASER SINTERING
DIRECT METAL LASER SINTERING (DMLS)

V.Ryan © 2019

 
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The diagram below, shows the ‘laser sintering’ of a complex gear, using titanium powder and a laser system. This manufacturing process, is only used when complex shapes are being manufactured, that require structures, that cannot be manufactured through machining methods. Some complex jet engine parts are manufactured through laser sintering. Most metals can be used as powders.
 
How it works:
The feed tank moves upwards by a distance equal to a layer of powder.
The slide arm pushes the layer of metal powder from the feed tank and deposits it equally across the build tank.
A laser fuses the powder, forming one layer of the product.
The build tank drops down the distance of another layer.
This process is repeated continually, until the 3D product is complete.
 
 
 
 
METAL LASER SINTERED COMPONENTS
 
 
 
 
ADVANTAGES OF LASER SINTERING
An STL file can be processed and exported for manufacturing, direct from a computer.
No need to manufacture a complex and expensive mould.
Capable of manufacturing extremely complex designs / components, not capable of being manufactured in any other way.
A self contained manufacturing process.
Ideal for final prototyping and one-off or short batch manufacture.
Does not require continual supervision by a skilled technician / engineer.
The design does not require the addition of supporting parts, as the powder supports the layers as they are produced.
A wide range of metal powders are available and can be used with this industrial process.
 
DISADVANTAGES OF LASER SINTERING
Set up costs - the purchase of a DMLS Machine are very high.
Not suitable for large production runs.
Not cost effective for ‘simple’ engineered products.
The density of the final metal component, is likely to be lower than one manufactured through conventional engineering processes.
Laser manufacture requires high levels of energy consumption.
The finished component may have a level of porosity, allowing liquids and gases to be absorbed.
 
 
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